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U.S. Government Cuts the Red Tape for Red Lanes

Dec 12, 2019

Corinne Kisner, Executive Director of the National Association of City Transportation Officials, issued the following statement in response to the Federal Highway Administration’s interim approval of red-colored transit lanes.

NACTO applauds the FHWA for this critical milestone to improving transit infrastructure and operations, paving the way for transformative transit projects across the country without the bureaucratic gridlock.

From Austin to Indianapolis to Chicago, cities have rolled out the red carpet for transit, letting more people move more reliably on some of the nation’s busiest streets. While it may sound simple, painting a street red previously hadn’t been easy, requiring a complex approval process by multiple levels of government, along with onerous evaluation requirements.

Over the past 10 years, NACTO has worked with our 81 member cities and transit agencies to codify best practices in street design that can make public transit fast, reliable, and convenient. Red transit lanes are extensively documented in the NACTO Transit Street Design Guide as a best practice. We applaud our member cities and transit agencies who have proven that simple solutions, like red paint, can make big impacts in the daily lives of millions of people by better connecting them to jobs and opportunities.

States can further smooth the process by applying for a blanket approval from FHWA for all the cities within their jurisdiction, further cutting the red tape for red lanes. Hundreds of cities and millions of riders will benefit.

About the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)
NACTO is an association of 81 major North American cities and transit agencies formed to exchange transportation ideas, insights, and practices and cooperatively approach national transportation issues. The organization’s mission is to build cities as places for people, with safe, sustainable, accessible, and equitable transportation choices that support a strong economy and vibrant quality of life. To learn more, visit or follow us on Twitter at @NACTO.

Alexander Engel | [email protected] | 646.324.2919

Further Background
FHWA Memo: Interim Approval for Red Transit Lanes (December 2019)
NACTO Letter Asking for Interim Approval of Red Transit Lanes (December 2018, sent to NCUTCD)